Sunday, 19 May 2013

Being unique.


Firstly, let me begin by saying I really rather like my body. I think I've been quite lucky.

I am ridiculously short. Not short enough to qualify as a 'little person', but only by 2cm. I am 4'10" and three quarters, or about 149cm. I do struggle to buy clothes off the rack. Even petites aren't quite right. Most clothes are made for someone who is 5'7". Petites are generally made for someone who is 5'4", or 5'3". So the differenece between a regular size and a petite fit is 3-4". The difference between me and a petite is 4.25 - 5.25". So that's a bigger step. Which I guess makes me Super-Petite.

But while I have fitting issues, most people do.

Because we aren't a set size. Because there's no such thing as normal. But we get so bent out of shape about numbers, or the fit of garments that are constructed for bodies which bear no actual resemblance to our own.

We need to change the way our clothes fit, not change our bodies.

Not so long ago, people made their own clothes at home. What a great idea:
We've all seen this. Why do we forget that we're seeing this every time we walk down the street? Why expect that the clothes in the shops will fit properly when we are so varied? And even this photo doesn't capture a fraction of the vast array of shapes and sizes we come in.

I think my height has been a huge blessing when it comes to body image. Because height is one of those things you can't really change, not via diet or surgery. Well, not unless you're absolutely mental. So I just had to be me. And I rather like it. I learned to sew out of absolute necessity. Now I sew for fun too. The more I sew, the more I learn about sizing, and fitting, and the clothing industry, and the history of women's fashion. The more I learn, the less I feel the need to worry about how badly chain store clothing suits my body shape.

Check this out:
The pattern piece at the back is the original multi size bodice pattern. And the pattern on the front in white tissue is my pattern piece for the same dress (I have marked it obsolete as I have made a couple of adjustments since I made my first dress from it).

Its not just size thats different - its shape.

My silhouette is really more in keeping with a 'plus size' shape than the idealised 'petite'. I have curves, and I am rather fond of them. I have learned lots of things about my shape through sewing - like learning that my shoulders are square but narrow compared to a standard pattern. But learning these things doesn't make me feel less normal - it makes me feel more enabled to create clothes that properly flatter my figure.

Can we start embracing the idea that clothing off the rack is not really designed for us? Can we stop talking about our body flaws and instead talk about making clothes that do our amazing figures justice?


P.S. I still have to shop in kids wear for shoes.

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